Newbie Questions

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by LLCoyote, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. LLCoyote

    LLCoyote Chirping

    May 24, 2011
    I have a question about diets and socializing birds. I've just bought three welsh harlequins and I have to say they are my pride and joys. Beautiful markings, interesting quack, (I got them older so they don't like me so much yet.) My questions are : Do ducks bought at an older age ever socialize and like their humans? I've had mine for a week, they don't want to be held, they don't want to eat treats from me, they don't even want me sitting next to them in the pen. Can this change for me? What's the best way to get them to the point I can walk into the pen and they come to me or let me pick them up?

    My second question is about my female (At the time I have one female and two males, but there is no one that wants the third one that I trust. I'm going to buy another female in about a month or so. Maybe two if I can afford it.) I know I need to start on layer pellets soon. What type should I buy? I tried to buy chicken pellets cause that's all they sell around here but they refused to touch it, they went three days without food. I broke down and bought cracked corn for them. They adore it, but I'm not sure that's a full diet, I know poor nutrition can lead to poor egg laying duck health. What food and how do I get them to eat it?

    And last but not least I bought my ducks a kiddie pool because I have no pond to keep them in and don't have the money for a pond right now. What are good ways to drain and keep the pool clean. Draining it makes a big muddy mess. It's hot here, so the heat makes it dry within a few days, then it's time to drain it again. I want everything as sanitary as possible. I've always prided myslef on making stable habbitats for all of the animals in my care and I don't feel I'm doing that for them. I can't build a pond yet but maybe a different pool any ideas are welcome. They have problems getting in and out of the pool too. How do I fix that?

    If anyone can help with even one of these questions I'd really appritiate it.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2011
  2. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

    Jan 11, 2010
    I dont know if any of this will help...but here we go anyway.... I have been raising ducks for around 30 years now- and for the years between leaving home and up until I started breeding Indian Runners two years I had a very mixed and constantly changing flock. I had my own favorites of course- but took in many rescues, unwanted and sick ducks. I had ducks come to me that had only been handled when they had been put in a cage to come to my house. I learnt some ways to try to get them to calm down in my presence and to be able to handle them in a way that caused the least stress. Here are some points.

    1. Never chase them to catch them......... Round them up slowly into a corner - if there is none- put up a temporary fence or structure so you do have a corner for them to go to.
    2. Let them come to you.......... Sit down with food - throw some out toward them- gradually throw it closer to you - as they gain trust in you they will slowly come closer over time.
    3. Your voice can calm them......... Always talk in a sweet calm voice around them and when you hold them.. never yell or shout around them.
    4. Food is a good way to teach them they can trust you....... Although I do not mean to stave them- if you withhold food just long enough for them to be hungry- they are more likely to come closer to you for food.

    A few other things to remember - you are much bigger than them- approaching them from a lower level- either bent over or even on your hands and knees can make them less afraid of you. They may never come over to you unless you have food- they are unlikely to ever " want to be" picked up - they are animals, but you can get them to a stage where they are comfortable and will not fight you when picked up.

    Do you know what they were fed before you go them?? It could be that they were only fed corn - which as you suspect is not a good feed for them and why now that is all they will eat. Mix the corn in with the pellets- gradually making a difference to the ratio of pellets to corn. A little corn in the diet is ok- especially in winter it will help them to keep condition- but alone it does not provide a healthy range of nutrients.

    Nothing wrong with a kiddie pool - its all my ducks get. I move it every day around on the grass in the yard in summer so different parts get some water. How big is the pool you have for them?? Do you have it on grass or on the dirt?? if it is making a muddy mess to empty and takes a few days to dry- I am thinking you have it on dirt. Is there Somewhere in the grass you can move it too? They will make a little mess picking at the grass around the outside- but you will find the water will dissipate faster.
  3. LLCoyote

    LLCoyote Chirping

    May 24, 2011
    My ducks are kind of... odd. Perhaps it's the breed? They're are fairly smart, in three days I had them trained to wonder from night pen to day time pen by gentle herding them. Now I open the gates stand back and they do it themselves. But they are super picky. They won't eat anything from my hand, and if I'm anywhere near, they will rarely eat. I've never chased them.. I've herded them from a distance but they're very sensitive. I will definantly try that with the corn and see if I can get them to start coming to me. Yes they have grass in their outside pen, but I worry that if I let them roam outside of the pen that they'll go in my pasture... and my last ducks got trampled to death. I couldn't go through that again. It broke my heart. Esspecially because they were entrusted to me because they were handicapped and needed to be protected. Do you think they would stay by their pool if I let them into the yard? I don't want them running off to the neighbors pond either because he's crazy as a fruit cake and shoots everything (Welcome to TN -_-)

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